What is climate change? (I still call it global warming)
The storm’s timing is unique: In 168 years of hurricane records, a July hurricane in Louisiana has only happened three times, and all of those occurrences have been within the past 40 years. There’s a growing body of research that shows that as the Gulf of Mexico waters warm because of climate change, early-season hurricanes like proto-Barry could become more common. (Right now, water temperatures in the Gulf are at near-record levels, more typical of peak hurricane season.)
More concerning than the storm’s early timing, however, is its bad timing. The Mississippi River has been continuously flooding southern Louisiana since January 6, the longest flood in recorded history for the river in this region. Spring floods aren’t supposed to last until mid-July, and after 185 days of high water, it’s unclear Louisiana could handle any more. A potential worst-case scenario could prove disastrous for Louisiana, and shows how unprepared we are for the scary new era of overlapping climate disasters.
University of Georgia atmospheric sciences professor John Knox offered one of the most compelling and clear analogies to explain why an anthropogenic climate change signal is increasingly associated with events like the European heatwave. Knox wrote:
The old record for the nation was 44.1C (111.4F), from the deadly 2003 heat wave in Europe. So, France just bested its high temperature by 3 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a lot. As with, say, 100-meter dash records in seconds, national temperature records in degrees should be broken in tenths, really hundredths–not integer values.If this were the world of track and field, a new record of this extremity would prompt immediate concerns about doping. The runner is fast, but no way is he or she THAT fast.